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Swivel and Swirl Fact Books

Create one-of-a-kind layered fact books in amazing shapes. The tentacles on this octopus swivel, for example, so your report is sure to grab attention!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. In-depth study about any animal allows learning to be more intriguing. Take the octopus. It is common knowledge that this creature has eight tentacles. However, ask students if they knew that each of those tentacles has 240 sucker cups to help pull it along or secure it during a storm? Do the math: one octopus has a sucker power of 1,920!
    2. To present facts about the creature being studied, challenge students to create a booklet in that animal’s shape. Decide how many pages (or facts) should be collected. The eight tentacles of the octopus invite an eight-paged booklet. Another animal might inspire a different number.
    3. On a recycled file folder, students draw the biggest shape of their animal’s body with Crayola Twistables® Colored Pencils. Cut out the shape, which will become the cover of the book.
    4. For each page of the book, students trace the base as a starting point. With the octopus, each page has a tentacle coming off the base shape in a different direction.
    5. After all book pages have been cut out, students write their researched facts on them. Invite students to consider coloring the rest of the page to look like the animal. An octopus changes colors in order to blend in with its surroundings. What colors might these changes be?
    6. Students layer the pages of books on top of each other. Title and decorate the cover. With a punch, make matching holes through all the pages. Thread a brad through it, joining all the pages. Have a swivel party so that classmates can swivel and swirl books of animal facts as the class shares their learning.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

    LA: With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.

    MATH: Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals). Recognize rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of these subcategories.

    SCI: Observe and compare the many kinds of living things that are found in different areas.

    VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible matter.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals by Catherine Hughes; Animals by Lorenz; Ocean Animals by Phyllis Perry; The Field Guide to Rain Forest Animals by Nancy Honovich

    Encourage students to create a second swirl fact book focused on historical figures, inanimate objects such as inventions or famous buildings, or story/book characters.

    Students work in small groups to create a collaborative swirl book focused on geometric shapes. Students may choose to include a various types of triangles, circles, ovals, types of rectangles, etc.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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